Memory advance boosts mobile battery life

Smart phones could see their battery life boosted by as much as 20 per cent, thanks to a new type of memory from Samsung.

The new memory, announced last week, is made from 'phase-change material' (PCM), an alloy of germanium, antimony and titanium.

When a voltage is applied to this glass-like substance, it changes into two distinct forms which can be used to store the 1s and 0s of binary data.

The new PCM memory, dubbed 'PRAM', consumes much less power than existing flash memory. It has a simpler structure than older memory types, which Samsung says should make it easy to manufacture and start using in phones.

The company reports that in tests, its 512Mbit PRAM was able to read and write data at up to 10 times the speed of some existing flash memory types. On average, Samsung’s PRAM is roughly three times faster than existing NOR flash memory.

Samsung will integrate PRAM into a multi-chip device (MCP) to be released later this quarter, which also includes standard volatile memory.

PCM-based memory could eventually replace conventional flash memory in many gadgets.